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Vote PAP for a harder push for economic transformation, Heng Swee Keat urges

SINGAPORE under the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the next five years will see efforts stepped up to transform and grow the economy to make it more innovative and resilient, the party said in the first of two political broadcasts made available to the contenders of this general election, which has been called under restrictive conditions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The party's First Assistant Secretary-General, Heng Swee Keat, speaking on national television on Thursday evening, painted a picture of what Singapore would be like and what a PAP government would do that will affect and benefit business interests. He said: “We must deepen our links with the world, work with like-minded partners to keep trade flowing and enable more of our businesses, including SMEs, to expand beyond our shores.”

At home, the government will work with businesses to promote new growth areas, said Mr Heng, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.

All these efforts are ultimately aimed at providing more good jobs and a better life  for all Singaporeans.

“To make sure that no Singaporean will be left to walk alone, we will continue to build a more fair and just society,” he said. Safety nets will be improved, and investments in education will be continued for the young, with those in greater need given special support. Seniors will get better support, provided especially by a stronger healthcare system geared towards an ageing population, so they retire comfortably.

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“Taken together with our additional support for education, this will relieve pressure on ‘sandwiched’ Singaporeans who are caring for both their children as well as their parents,” Mr Heng said.

He said the government will continue to build not just a better but also a “greener, more connected and more liveable” home for Singaporeans. Beyond  the present, the government has already put in place bold plans for Singaporeans to live sustainably, as well as to protect Singapore against climate change and the rising seas.

But for plans to become reality, Mr Heng said, the people and government must forge strong partnerships.

He said PAP is up to the task. Its leadership team is tested and proven: “PM Lee and the older ministers have seen Singapore through many previous crises. Together with the 4G leaders, we have a leadership team that is ready to take on whatever lies ahead.”

Turning to Covid-19, he said that although the government has brought the number of new cases down and kept fatalities low, the battle against the pandemic is far from over. “We face severe challenges, not just over the next few months, but for many years to come.”

The urgent priority over the next few years is to protect lives and save jobs, he said. The government has spent close to S$100 billion towards this end, but Mr Heng said Singapore must continue to invest in new capabilities that will help it emerge stronger after the crisis.

He said this election will be tough because Singaporeans have been hit hard by the pandemic – and they are anxious about their future. But the PAP will fight hard to deserve their votes, he said,  “for every vote represents a hope for the future”.

He called for a strong support for the PAP so that the government can continue to work with and serve Singaporeans – to  secure lives, jobs and Singapore’s future.

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